Landscape Painting analysis-The Harbor of La Rochelle

Topics: Landscape art, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Impressionism Pages: 3 (1029 words) Published: October 10, 2013

The Harbor of La Rochelle is a 50.5 x 71.8 cm oil on canvas painted by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot in 1851. In this painting, the artist depicted a picturesque scene of the everyday life in a placid harbor city in a sunny warm day. Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century. He is a pivotal figure in landscape painting. His work simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism. The ingenuity of the composition is that it used a lot of tricks in the layout of the elements, meanwhile being rendered very simply and concisely. The artist realized that the eye does not settle naturally on the center of a painting and that compositions that placed the main subject in the centre were not very pleasing to the eye. So he separated the painting into different parts both vertically, which might employed the rule of thirds that was prevalent among landscape painters in that period. Vertically, the lowest part mainly deals with human activities with great variety and detail; the middle part is the depiction of the river and buildings along the bank; and the highest part is mostly occupied with the sky, using less texture and detail so as not to disturb the overall balance thus creating the effect of the landscape receding into the distance. In general, the distribution of people, and the layout of the trees, vessels and buildings along each side of the river creates a symmetrical balance which delivers a restful, calming and visually stable feeling. Corot incorporated a lot of elements in this painting to unfold the scene of an ordinary day of a harbor city. In the lower left corner, there are 6 horses which can be easily tell that are used for carrying goods. There are several boxes and ladders scattering around the horses and people carrying box off the horse unhurriedly. Not far from them, there is a man rolling a barrel laden with goods and another man...
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